Hamilton paying $1.9M on City Motor Hotel

The city has voted to pay $1.9 million for the City Motor Hotel land.
Hamilton council is expropriating the City Motor Hotel and voted Wednesday to pay $1.9 million for the property. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

The city has voted to pay $1.9 million in interest on the City Motor Hotel land.

Councillors voted Wednesday to pay $1,960,000 to a number of groups, including a numbered company, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and KMTC-Key Management Technology Corp. for "simple interest" on the subject lands.

Council also voted to pay $1 each to the spouse of Patrick Di Monte, the spouse of Harmeet Chauhun, the spouse of Sivabatham Visvalingam, Pattison Outdoor Advertising Ltd. and the Lord's Ministry House. This amount is a placeholder and the parties will determine who is owed what amount of the total payout, said the city's new solicitor, Janice Atwood-Pekovski.

Council voted last August to expropriate the hotel and use the property for several purposes, including a transportation hub, commercial uses and affordable housing.

The 5,241-metre property was up for sale in August 2011, and the city preferred to acquire it through the usual "willing buyer, willing seller manner," the city said in a report Wednesday.

But "due to a complicated and cloudy title," the city followed legal advice to expropriate the land.

The city will now send an offer of compensation to the parties, who were identified when the city investigated who owned the property, Atwood-Pekovski said. "The parties will sort through the value and the amount of their interest."

The city is about three months away from completing the expropriation, she said.

Coun. Sam Merulla, who pushed for the expropriation, said the land will be a mix of public and private development.

The city will likely choose a private developer through a a request for proposals process, Merulla added. He hopes to see the expropriation finalized within a month and the building demolished this summer.

The hotel was a den of drugs, prostitution and gun activity, and saw the highest number of police calls of anywhere in the city, he said.

"I know the community is very excited about the future that lies ahead," he said. "I'm looking forward to getting the ball rolling and developing a plan."

No owners were present at the City Motor Hotel on Wednesday. Ted Dabrowski, who works there, told CBC Hamilton he didn't want to talk about it.

"The city steal the motel," he said.